July 20, 2013

Sowing Seeds of Discord Reaps Only A Bitter Harvest

Even in the recent rips of our social fabric I see the glory of God peeking through. Even in what looks like a once great country in steep decline (United States), I suggest we see inklings of the Kingdom of God approaching. Where man fails, God most certainly triumphs. In the heated exchanges between the old and the young, men and women, black and white, rich and poor, governing and governed we see a much larger picture unfolding. We see a sovereign plan just as we saw the leaders of nations under God’s control in Daniel (and will see in Revelation). I see the unfolding of plans too grand and great for me to fathom fully as I am too finite and God is too infinite. When we show ourselves as humanity which is incapable of living together in peace with one another, we build the case for the need for Sovereign God to enter our lives and make it happen through His unity of Spirit. It is exactly because we're flawed creatures and cannot get along that we will assuredly need the intervention of Jesus Christ. The more we try to usher in unity through man-made social constructs the more we realize our inability to do so. Like the Jews of Jesus time we have a preconceived notion of what we think God's Kingdom and rule is (or will be) and we attempt to impose our view on God and other people through political, military and worldly ideological means. God had none of this during his time on earth in during in the Roman empire and He certainly will have none of it now. God is more powerful and much more subtle than that.

In it all we see the glory of God.

So…I continue to ponder the division in society this week and I am disappointed but not surprised at the incendiary rhetoric launched like mortar rounds from both sides. As Christians we were warned this type of thing would happen if Jesus was not fully reigning in society and in our hearts. We were warned it would get worse before it got better. The very act of Jesus coming into the world caused division and partitioning of society (and still does today), how much more would His followers be effected by this fact. We are also told that it would be in His Spirit after the Ascension that true unity would come.

Matthew 10:24 ~ “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Luke 2:34-35 ~ “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

In it all we see the glory of God.

I think about the social engineers and those within certain churches that would have us believe that it is through man that change for the better for all mankind will come and we will see the arrival of God’s Kingdom in full (The Social Gospel). Sorry folks, not sure where you got that theology…but it’s not in the Bible, at least not stated that way.

Then we see the current society at-large. We see the sum result of centuries of humanism and social/scientific tinkering and we must realize based on blatant evidence to the contrary, that not only is man not capable of improving society to usher in the Kingdom…we are hopelessly inept at producing any meaningful or lasting positive social outcome. The obvious truth is that without God we are condemned to forever repeat the errors of the past. We are perpetually in a loop of failure that drops us right back where we began. We end up recovering from another revolution, insurrection or war. Again, we see the ultimate failure of human efforts.

Again, we see the true glory of God in it all.

We think we have mastered our evils and learned from them. We put processes and plans in place to prevent the problems of the past from occurring again in the future. A generation or two goes by and the newer generations believe they are more technologically and intellectually evolved. They believe they know better than the previous generations. These new generations view the implementations of older preventative measures as remnants of a bygone era so they tear them down in the name of “progress”. The “new improved” generation, in an attempt to move on from the relics of the past end up becoming a watered-down and dumbed-down version of the last. Instead of moving on to greater things, by removing the admonitions of past mistakes they remove the very things that will instruct them when they begin to err again and history repeats ad nauseum. It is social entropy. Instead of moving higher towards God and more order, we move downward away from God towards chaos and disorder. The Devil laughs heartily from his stinking abode. These historical repetitions are usually much more violently than previous generations since technology continues to grow while morality decreases. We need only look at honest and factual history books to see this pattern. We need only look at the Old Testament.

It is clear we are on the same footing now. What is disturbing is that many politicized Christians believe they are doing the right thing by trying to use the political system or global US hegemony to do the work only God could do through Jesus. In doing this, what is really happening is that mislead people are using the very system(s) of the world that is antithetical to the Kingdom of God. The world system is of the Devil, therefore opposed to God’s rule. The world may be God’s but the kingdom is currently in rebellion against its King. Even though the Devil and his monkeys can be bent to the will of God unwittingly, there is the probability that those using the system of the world to bring God’s kingdom to power are doing nothing more than fighting fire with fire. They’re deceiving themselves that something positive will come out of Satan’s system. Of course there is always the possibility that something good can or will arise from evil (Genesis 50:20) but it is probable we will only see more chaos and destruction because the mitigating element is usually sinful man, not holy God.

It’s better to view God working in sovereignty through obedient biblical Christians that adhere to biblical philosophies. God will work through man’s stupidity if He has to (Joseph's brothers, Pharaoh's heart, Judas' betrayal, Moses, David)…but the Bible is clear that He prefers working through His people that obey His commands and statutes. Either way, He is glorified. He would much rather use the example of obedient Christians than use a bumbling disobedient follower (i.e.: Jonah, ironically Moses and David again). Why? It is because although both paths can bring glory to God, at the end of the day an obedient Christian brings more glory to God. Why? It is because it shows that God’s way was right all along. This is an expression of His goodness and love as it upholds His faithfulness to His believers and ultimately shows God to be trustworthy and honor the blessings He has assured those who will obey His commands (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). It shows the covenant God on prominent display in the modern age. This is most evidently seen in the very fact that God will judge the unrighteous. The fact that God will indeed punish transgression shows that not only is He just…He is perfectly consistent /constant or immutable (therefore trustworthy).

In it all we see God’s glory.

Where the unrepentant world sees only a hateful mean God (and even many Christians do), true Christians see a totally consistent, totally unchanging, faithful Sovereign that will hold up His end of the bargain. He will be steadfast, unwavering and resolute even when we are incapable of doing the same or too stupid to. God is indeed a rock of Salvation. He and His holiness are a place where we can lay down solid foundation or drop anchor.

We need to stop turning to one another or other men for the answers. How many more times do we need to go down the unproductive route before it sinks in that it is a dead-end? Man will not nor cannot bring in the Kingdom of Heaven. The whole point is that it is only Christ that can do this. We obey God and it is He that sanctifies us. The only source of holiness is God. If God is the only source of holiness then it stands to reason that true holiness and therefore the arrival of the Kingdom can only come from and through God if it is He that sanctifies us. In reality it is only us getting out of our own way to allow God to do His work in us that allows us to be sanctified. It is the proverbial, “Where I come to my end, God fully takes over my life.” It is in our humbling and meekness where we truly allow the Kingdom to break through. This is totally counter-intuitive to the idea of aggressive political activism to make a change now whether it is on the right side or left side.

Matthew 15:9 ~ “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

The more I think on these things the more apolitical I become. Being political is divisional. It puts us in either this camp...or that camp. There is to be no division in the coming Kingdom because we will all be unified in Christ. Aligning to a “party”, organization or identifying myself with an man-based ideology only serves to align me with the forces of darkness in this fallen world. My comment stands regardless of how philanthropic or humanitarian those organizations or parties seem. The lesser of two evils is still evil and I am to disassociate myself with all evil and pursue holiness. I am to be holy because the Lord God is holy.

Titus 3:10-11 ~ “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

Romans 16:17-18 ~ “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

Furthermore, when we see these very same divisions in the church they are nearly always caused by unbiblical behavior being pitted against biblical behavior. The world having crept into the church fights the truth of Scripture. I have seen this with my own eyes and have had it happen to me. The higher the deception the harder it is to get out of the church. The proper view is that of the Bible. Those with the unbiblical view will never see that they are wrong and usually always blame the biblical teaching for being divisive in an attempt to gain the moral high ground and win the argument while simultaneously maintaining their unbiblical behavior. The bottom-line is that we need to filter all behavior and feelings through Scripture or they are subject to scrutiny.

This goes for all that would use race in the form of racism, sexuality, feminism, sanctity of life or other moral issues to promote their agendas in or outside of the church. Actually I should clarify…it is especially those that would use these moral issues to promote their warped and misguided agendas. What's more is when we see politics enter the church. This is abhorrent as it is pure syncretism along the lines of Baal/Yahweh worship. When people use these issues to profit themselves or gain power we see insidious evil because it is a wanton and deliberate evil in the form of idolatry. We also see divisions based on superficial surface judgments therefore we see unbiblical partiality (James 2:1-13). We have seen this quite a bit in the media /society lately and even in churches. These deliberate manipulations of other people due to characteristics given them by God (race, gender, sexuality, etc.) is exceptionally horrid as it shows a gross ingratitude towards the most Holy One’s grace and is an abuse of God’s glorious creation and their/its attributes (made that way by God). It shows a gross misuse of God-given attributes to use them against others to gain an edge. This is high-handed sin and it is unrepentant sin. It is intentional when the sinner refuses to repent of it and callously continues it for selfish evil purposes. This is thumbing one’s nose at the righteousness of God as God is the source of righteousness. For these there will is a more severe judgment reserved. It is abuse of God’s grace shown to us on the Cross.

Meanwhile, the poor are still poor and the disenfranchised of society are still marginalized by most all of us except for a small handful. These poor people who float just below radar or on the periphery of our vision don’t play any substantial role in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the agendas of this world so they stay marginalized and ignored. In God’s economy they are substantial and vital. These are the ones that will inherit the Kingdom. It will not be the social activists attempting to change society by force of will. It will be those marginalized by society taking their rightful place at the front of the line. The zealous social activist trying to bring in the Kingdom in grand style through their satanically under-girded theories will move to the back of the line. The last will be first and the first will be last. The ones trying so hard to make the kingdom come “now” in-full will only succeed in postponing it for themselves.

Thinking that someone will bring in the Kingdom of God through political activism based in lies, racism, murder, injustice, deception and truly hate filled rhetoric and manipulation is at best delusional...at worst it is a path to condemnation. We need to stop turning to false salvation in other fallen men in the form of man-made courts, man-made religions and man-made organizations. We need to realize that our deliverance and salvation is of divine origin and for Christians it ends in a divine destination whose name is Jesus Christ, Messiah, Lord of Lords.

The Kingdom is of Christ and the Kingdom is where Christ is, not man.

Stop looking to your neighbor(s) for salvation. Stop looking to your neighbor as your enemy. Look to your God and love Him and look to your neighbor and love them too. Everything else falls out from these two. In these two principles we see the death of division. In them we see the Kingdom’s root. Like a root system, the kingdom will continue to grow out of sight and allow the Kingdom to thrive with life mostly unseen in the spiritual realm. If the seed of God is planted in the correct soil the fruit or harvest will be wondrous.  If we sow only seeds of discord in bitter soil (fallen man) we will only reap bitter godless fruit or no fruit at all when harvest time comes around. If God is a God of order and unity it can be concluded that God will not dwell among His people when they are in division.

...and the tree that does not produce fruit...will be cut down.

Luke 13:6-9 ~ "Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?" “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

Soli Deo Gloria

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